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Situation in Sri Lanka monitored: Foreign Secretary

The foreign affairs ministry has contacted Bhutan’s ambassador in Dhaka, Bangladesh who is also accredited to Colombo, Sri Lanka to monitor the situation regarding the state of emergency declared in Sri Lanka, foreign secretary, Sonam Tshong said.

Secretary Sonam Tshong told Kuensel said that the ministry has not received any reports of Bhutanese in Sri Lanka being adversely affected.

Foreign minister Damcho Dorji on his Facebook page advised Bhutanese pilgrims to avoid travel to Sri Lanka until the situation improves. When contacted for comments, he said that the post is his personal message to the people and not as a foreign minister.

Records with Department of Adult and Higher Education show that as of January this year, 143 scholarship students are pursuing undergraduate courses in Sri Lanka.

According to foreign media, Sri Lanka declared a state of emergency to stop the spread of communal violence between Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

The violence was reportedly triggered following a collision between a van driven by a Sinhalese Buddhist youth and a taxi with four Muslim men, on March 4 in Kandy district.

It is reported that the Buddhist youth was assaulted who later succumbed to injuries in  the hospital. The incident sparked riots and arson attacks on Muslim businesses and mosques. It is reported the more than 150 Muslim homes, shops and vehicles were burned down.

Internet and phone access is also reported to be restricted with telecommunication providers instructed to block data transmissions after the police warned that rioters were using social media to incite violence.

Staff reporter

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